A. Desiree LaBeaud, MD, MS
Dr. Desiree LaBeaud is a physician scientist, epidemiologist, and associate professor for the Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases at Stanford University’s School of Medicine. She studies the epidemiology and ecology of domestic and international arboviruses and emerging infections, with an interest in the vector, host, and environmental factors that affect transmission dynamics and spectrum of disease.
Dr. LaBeaud received her MD from the Medical College of Wisconsin, and trained with the Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital pediatric residency program and the pediatric infectious disease fellowship program at Case Western Reserve University, while earning her master’s degree in Clinical Research and Epidemiology. She currently heads a clinical research lab focused on better understanding the risk factors and long-term health consequences of arboviral infections, specifically Rift Valley fever, chikungunya, dengue fever, and Zika disease. Her lab also investigates the genetic and immunologic differences that influence variable host responses to arboviral infections, and develops diagnostic tests that can be administered in the field to quickly and accurately determine infections. A primary focus is also to understand local and personal perceptions of mosquito-borne disease risk in order to engage community action in prevention. Her current field sites include Kenya, Grenada, and Brazil.
Dr. LaBeaud is affiliated with the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment, the Emmett Interdisciplinary Program in Environment & Resources, and the Center for Innovation in Global Health at Stanford University. She serves as a Deputy Editor for the Public Library of Science Neglected Tropical Diseases Journal and is a reviewer for many scientific journals. She is also serves on a number of National Institute of Health study sections, is the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene Kean committee chair, and is an elected councilor and chair-elect of the American Committee of Arbovirologists.
I am interested in the interactions between host and pathogen, with a particular interest in functional mechanisms of antibodies. Currently, I am focused on investigating the role of human antibodies to dengue virus in conferring protection or enhancing infection. I earned my B.S. degree in Animal Physiology and Neuroscience from UC San Diego in 1996, and M.D. from University of Pennsylvania’s School of Medicine in 2000. I completed my pediatrics training at Children’s Hospital Oakland in 2007, during which I completed a Ruth L. Kirschstein post-doctoral research fellowship studying meningococcal vaccine responses. I completed my clinical fellowship in pediatric infectious diseases at Emory University School of Medicine in 2009.
Amy Robyn Krystosik, MPH, PhD
I am a post-doctoral epidemiologist interested in community health, social justice, and spatial analysis. I have recently finished my PhD in public health epidemiology from Kent State University College of Public Health focusing on chikungunya, zika, and dengue in Cali, Colombia. My main role in the LaBeaud lab is to support and enhance ongoing and future projects in data management, mapping, and analysis. Previously I worked on vector control with attractive toxic sugar baiting experiments and dengue and Chagas’ disease surveillance and control and also in prevention of domestic violence and HIV through human rights advocacy. I studied international health and development at Tulane University School of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene and Biochemistry at John Carroll University.
I obtained my Masters of Science degree in cell and molecular biology and infectious disease from California State University, East Bay in 2012. My interests center around the molecular mechanisms of infection and viral interaction with host cells, but I’m also interested in large scale prevention measures, such as innovative water treatment technologies, entomology and vector-based mechanisms of disease transmission, and public health. I have a diverse research background that includes immunology and host cell response to HIV-1, synthetic biology, microbiology, biological waste processing during space exploration, water treatment, resource recovery and sustainable bioengineering technologies. I am also a certified microscopist and a freelance science blogger.
Melisa Shah, MD, MPH
I am an adult infectious diseases fellow with an interest in global health and epidemiology. I trained at Emory University where I completed an MD/MPH degree. During my MPH, I had the opportunity to work with CDC researchers at KEMRI in Kisumu, Kenya on a longitudinal population-based surveillance study. I am working with LaBeaud Lab on the epidemiology of pediatric malaria and the burden of submicroscopic parasitemia in children living in urban and rural areas in Kenya.
I graduated with a degree in medicine from the University of Newcastle upon Tyne, UK (2013) after which I worked as a junior doctor for the National Health Service in Internal Medicine and Pediatrics – with a focus on Community Pediatrics. My interest in pediatrics, global health and preventative medicine developed through various volunteer experiences and during my medical electives in Pediatric Infectious Disease at the University of Michigan and working with rural under-served communities in Vellore, India – where they deal with a high infectious disease burden especially amongst the vulnerable pediatric population. I am currently preparing to pursue residency training in the US and I am excited to be working in the LaBeaud Lab where I am contributing towards projects to determine the prevalence of maternal to child transmission of arboviral disease and medical consequences of congenital arboviral disease in Grenada.
Sonia Alvarez, MA
Prior to migrating to the United States, I spent the early years of my life in Cuba and Puerto Rico. I obtained a Master of Arts degree in Social-Community Psychology from the University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras in 1980. After working various social service-related positions, I obtained a Master in Public Health degree at San Jose State University in 2008 to solidify my career in public health education. From inception, I have directed my professional choices towards social service programs and interventions aimed at restoring social justice and empowering the under-served. For the last fifteen years, I have planned, designed, taught, coordinated and evaluated community-based health education programs. I have mentored community health workers and trained trainers on the internationally known Stanford self-management programs. I am interested in high-quality, high-impact scientific research. I am also interested in being part of multi-disciplinary teams, translational research, and global health.
Garja Suner, BS
I graduated from University of California, Merced with a B.S. degree in molecular and cell biology. My interest in global health and epidemiology originates from the years I spent studying and living in Rajasthan, India. Growing up in a poverty-stricken area of Rajasthan, I witnessed many flu and other infectious arboviral outbreaks due to the lack of health services and education. My research background as an undergraduate includes computational research on large data sets from The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA), investigation of various metabolic genes/pathways, and using the CRISPR/Cas9 system to mutate/knock-out genes in cancer cell lines. As a student at UC Merced, I also cofound two service clubs, Medical Colleagues Aiming to Serve (Medical C.A.T.S.) Organization and Providing and Reaching Out to Minorities in Service and Education (P.R.O.M.I.S.E.) club.
Jamie Caldwell, PhD
I am a postdoctoral fellow investigating climate drivers of mosquito-borne diseases with Desiree LaBeaud, Erin Mordecai (Biology), and Eric Lambin (Woods Institute for the Environment). I am broadly interested in the ecology and spatial dynamics of infectious diseases in humans and wildlife. A major component of my postdoctoral research is to develop mathematical models to predict disease risk for dengue and chikungunya in Kenya and Ecuador. I received my PhD in 2017 from the University Hawai‘i at Mānoa in zoology and marine biology where I studied infectious disease dynamics in coral reefs and developed forecasting models of coral disease outbreaks using satellite imagery. My research has enabled me to collaborate with local, state, and federal agencies including the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and I am excited to continue doing interdisciplinary work at Stanford with the aims of improving our understanding of infectious diseases and ability to prepare for outbreak events.